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Aukey Ground Loop Isolator Review

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Not for audiophiles

Anyone whose been around an audio device long enough knows the pains of electrical noise. Those bees, hums and haas can drive you crazy, especially when you've just spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new setup. In comes the ground loop isolator, a little device that will break up ground loops by making sure the grounds are equal on both the input and output devices. If the signal coming in is too high, it decreases/suppresses it, if it's too low, higher-end ground loops can up the voltage to boost it. Most of the time with lower-end GLIs they suppress the signal and kind of "muffle" or lower the volume of the electrical noise to the point where it's barely noticeable if at all. This usually comes at the expense of audio quality as the audio quality will come across as muffled as well. Higher-end GLIs like those produced by Jensen work as hard as they can to not degrade sound quality, but are ultimately 10x the price of normal consumer GLIs.

Aukey tries it's best. As usual the packaging is minimalist with recycled cardboard paired with a light plastic around the GLI. Included is a 3.5mm audio cable. Application is simple, just plug the input device into the GLI and connected the other end into the output device. As a test I ran some analog cables from my receiver to the 3.5mm port on a mixer. The initial setup produces a slight buzz, but once Aukey's GLI was introduced the buzz was completely gone albeit the sound was a bit "muted."

Moving on I tested it on my custom PC which runs a Soundblaster AE-5 sound card. Outputting to a 3.5mm switch produces a very loud electrical buzz this time around as my powerful PC overpowers the ground of the switch since the switch has no amp. Introducing Aukey's GLI has little effect. It once again muffles the sound, this time even more to compensate for the power coming from my PC which makes the audio sound terrible. The buzzing persisted even when adding a ferrite core to the output cable. Looks like Aukey's GLI isn't built for powerful devices/signals.

In the end, I just went back to directly connecting my headphones to my PC as Aukey's GLI doesn't cut it. I didn't like the degrade in audio quality as well. In the future whenever I feel like spending the cash, I'll invest in some more higher-end GLIs from the likes of Jensen and other manufacturers that have been producing premium car GLIs for decades.

2 out of 5



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